With some dramatic lighting and a little smoke, Carrie Underwood appeared to rise from underneath the stage Tuesday night for her show in front of a packed house of screaming fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
It’s not surprising that the 2005 “American Idol” champ drew a crowd of all ages — most country acts who come to Maine do — but excitement filled the house moments before her appearance as the crowd impatiently waited for the Oklahoma country girl to kick off her portion of the show.
Leading up to her performance Underwood couldn’t have asked for a better opening act in Little Big Town. Perhaps the group was extra revved up because its new album hit stores the day of the concert, but they put on a fabulously entertaining show that alternated perfectly between upbeat tunes and ballads that left the audience clapping and singing along.
Despite a long break following Little Big Town’s opening, the crowd was ready for more when Underwood took the stage and officially began the Carnival Ride tour in Portland.
She won the crowd’s hearts when a security guard lifted a little girl to the stage during “American Girl” and Underwood let her sing along, although it was difficult to hear.
Underwood puts a different twist on a concert and likes to tell a few stories in between numbers, perhaps because she was a broadcast journalism major in college. During the show, she quelled rumors that she’s been dating Michael Phelps and admitted she hasn’t been able to find a man.
‘I’ve never even met Michael Phelps,” she said. As for finding love, Underwood said her dog is the most loyal male she has found.
“He loves me,” she said. “He gives me kisses and he never talks back.”
There was one minor incident during the concert that Underwood played off like a pro. As she was walking down the long raised catwalk that jutted from the stage into the crowd, Underwood reached down to touch the hands of her adoring fans. It appeared that one girl held on a little too tightly, and almost pulled the country star into the crowd.
Although a little shaken at first, Underwood made a quick recovery, saying she almost did a little “unintentional crowd surfing.”
Security quickly addressed the issue and it’s doubtful that most of the audience even realized what had happened.
The show continued with crowd favorites, such as “Last Name” and “Don’t Forget to Remember Me.” Having been on the road for a long time without her family, Underwood said the second song was particularly special.
After a strong performance, the No. 1 female country vocalist was off to Boston for a Wednesday night performance and will continue the tour until she takes a break at Christmas.
In between, she’ll make an appearance as co-host, along with Brad Paisley at this year’s 42nd annual CMA Awards at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, on ABC.
If you missed the concert, you can bet on being able to catch a live performance that you can watch from your living room during the awards show.